Council debates Southern Link study


Councillors at Nelson City Council have unanimously agreed not to provide feedback on the proposed Southern Link motorway at a council meeting today.

A motion moved by councillor Kate Fulton met widespread support, which will see the council reinforce its stance on supporting the construction of a shared cycle and walk way along Rocks Rd to the New Zealand Transport Agency.

But it will not to provide any feedback on the current NZTA investigation over the proposed Southern Link.

Many of the councillors spoke of their displeasure of not being able to have their views communicated to NZTA, especially those against a new road.

A seven-councillor majority have said they do not support the Southern Link.

Mayor Rachel Reese says the council could not send a submission because it had not consulted with the community on it.

Earlier, nine speakers, both for and against the new arterial road, ate up two hours of the meeting in the public forum, making a last minute effort to sway councillors’ decisions on whether or not to make a feedback submission on the Nelson Southern Link Investigation.

Allan Kneale, from the New Zealand Automobile Association, presented feedback from a recent member’s poll undertaken in April that found 63 per cent of their members supported the creation of a new arterial road.

Councillor Pete Rainey asked out of the 24,500 members in Nelson and Tasman, how many responded to the survey but Mr Kneale said that was “a matter between our members and the association”.

Principal of Nelson Intermediate School Hugh Gully, board chair of both Nelson Intermediate and Victory Primary Schools Helen Watson and Bicycle Nelson Bays’ John-Paul Pochin spoke next.

Helen said that the council “should not be sitting on the fence” and noted the significant number of schools and early childhood centres, equalling between 1000-1500 children, that are in the airshed that the Southern Link would be built in.

She said it was one of the most polluted airsheds in New Zealand and that long term exposure to children would be harmful.

“The implications for schools and ECE centres are significant. The council should be advocating for schools,” she said.

Speaking in support of the Southern Link, Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce CEO Dot Kettle said that the city had seen the difference an additional airline can make and says Rocks Rd should be developed for tourism and that heavy traffic should be removed from it.

Tahunanui Business Association and principal of Tahunanui school, Barbara Bowen says the suburb has become an “industrial thoroughfare for kids”.

Others to speak at the public forum were: Kindra Douglas from the Victory Community Centre and Victory Guardians, Peter Olorenshaw from Nelsust, Craig Dennis from Progress Nelson Tasman, Bob Hancock from Nelson Grey Power and local resident, Lindsay Wood.